The Healthcare Commission has given St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust the top score of a triple green light after an assessment against national measures aimed at reducing hospital-acquired infections.

St George’s Hospital, Tooting, was scrutinised by the health watchdog during an unannounced inspection in March. The results of the spot check – showing that St George’s had no breaches in three duties trusts must meet to prevent and control infection – were published on its website on Friday 6 June.

The Trust was put under the spotlight as part of a programme of visits to 120 trusts which began in June 2007. The inspections assess trusts against a minimum of three out of the 11 duties under the Hygiene Code. This code came into force in 2006 and gave the Healthcare Commission new powers to make sure that trusts are doing all they can to ensure that patients are cared for in a clean and safe environment.

Since January 2008, the results of the inspections have been given in a traffic light system. Red means immediate action must be taken, orange that areas for improvement have been identified. Green means a trust has no breaches and that the Commission will take no further action at this time.

After a detailed assessment examining how St George’s tackles infection control ‘board to ward’, the Trust was given green for all and judged by the Healthcare Commission:

  • to have appropriate systems for preventing and controlling infections
  • to be providing and maintaining a clean environment for healthcare, and
  • to have adequate isolation facilities to keep patients with infections away from other patients.

Geraldine Walters, Director of Nursing and Infection Control, said: “St George’s got the best possible results from this spot check. This shows that St George’s takes cleanliness, and the prevention and control of infection, seriously. It also shows we have in place the systems and processes in place to protect patients and that these are being implemented.

“For a large teaching hospital, our rates of MRSA are the lowest in London and among the lowest in England. Clostridium difficile results, which have been a concern in the past, are steadily declining, and we are ahead of our target for reduction. This is due to both cleanliness on our wards, stringent hand hygiene and our careful use of antibiotics, which are a known cause of C diff in patients.”

Notes to editors

  1. A summary report of St George’s inspection can be found here
  2. St George’s spot check took place in March 2008. Since April 2008, the Healthcare Commission has begun annual inspections of compliance with the code with every Trust.
  3. For more information please contact the Trust’s Communications Unit on 020 8725 5151. Outside working hours, please page us by calling 07699 119700, leaving a short message and contact details for pager SG548.